Original jurisdiction in case of Diane McDevitt, Administratrix of the estate of Joseph J. McDevitt, also known as Joseph McDevitt, Deceased, v. A. Golin, also known as Abraham Golin, individually and trading as "A. Golin," and trading as "A. Golin Wholesale Meats," and trading as "A. Golin Co.," and/or as "A. & C. Realty Corp." and/or "A. Golin, Inc.," and City of Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Port Corporation, and Navigation Commission for the Delaware River and its Navigable Tributaries, and Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Delaware River Port Authority.
George T. Guarnieri, for plaintiff.
Steven D. Johnson, with him G. Wayne Renneisen, for defendant, Golin.
James D. Wilder, for defendant, Philadelphia Port Corporation.
Richard S. Herskovitz, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for defendants, Navigation Commission and Department of Transportation.
Joseph H. Foster, with him Thomas R. Cunningham, and, of counsel, White and Williams, for defendant, Delaware River Port Authority.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 411]
Diane McDevitt (plaintiff) has brought this action as administratrix of her husband's estate, alleging the liability of various parties for the death of her husband on or about January 13 or January 14, 1976. It is alleged that the decedent's car struck an unattended truck at night and that he was either thrown into the Delaware River by the collision or fell into the river
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 412]
while trying to free his vehicle or seek assistance. Preliminary objections to the complaint in this case brought as an original jurisdiction action in this Court*fn1 were filed by A. Golin, alleged owner of the truck, The Philadelphia Port Corporation, Navigation Commission for the Delaware River and its Navigable Tributaries (Commission), Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PennDOT), and Delaware River Port Authority (Authority). Since the parties upon which our original jurisdiction is based are immune from liability, we transfer the balance of this action to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.
By way of preliminary objections "in the nature of a petition raising a question of jurisdiction,"*fn2 PennDOT has asserted that Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania prohibits such an action against the Commonwealth without its consent. At this writing, it is clear that the prevailing case law in this Commonwealth supports PennDOT's entitlement to the cloak of sovereign immunity. See Sweigard v. Department of Transportation, 454 Pa. 32, 309 A.2d 374 (1973); ...